Evan, Claire and Willa arrived on Tuesday, January 13th, shortly after noon hour.  It was warm and sunny, so California welcomed them to paradise in its usual fashion!  Claire was most impressed, as the three of them exited the airport jacket-less, gazing up at the clear blue sky.

Our first order of business was Christmas gifts, which were patiently waiting under the tree.  Willa headed straight for them, anxiously pawing the pile in search of boxes labelled with her name.  Yes, she can read her name.  Truthfully, hers was the only name starting with a ‘W’, making it easy to impress us!

The whole unwrapping process took a couple of hours, and Willa was already well into setting up her ‘groceries’, that we had gotten her.  ‘Melissa and Doug’ is a well known manufacturer of durable reality toys, so she was delighted with the various foods and kitchen utensils that would enhance her kitchen.  Claire made her a kitchen set up out of an old entertainment unit, which she had already gotten under her home Christmas tree.  We also had purchased a LeapFrog educational game unit for her, but it took her a while to become curious about that gift!


Glenn had to go in to work today, so we were left to explore our local shopping options.  We have one of the most pricey malls just a couple blocks from our house, with dual Men’s and Women’s Macy’s anchors.  Prada, Burberry, and Tiffany’s are just a few of the stores aimed directly at the wealthy tech population here in Silicon Valley.  An entire separate wing was added to this mall to accommodate these types of stores!  Claire was tempted to visit just one of these stores, a children’s wear store called ‘Miu Miu’.  This particular store was most definitely there for Chinese shoppers, since the staff was all Oriental, as were the labels on the clothing.  A darling little cardigan on the sale rack would still cost over a hundred dollars, regularly approximately $230.  Thanks, but NO THANKS.

Willa enjoyed the children’s play area, while we enjoyed sitting down for a few moments.  This gave us an opportunity to discuss what things were most important to see and do while they were here.  San Francisco was at the top of Claire’s list, as was visiting Muir Woods to visit the giant redwoods.  The beach at Santa Cruz was Willa’s passion, so obviously that would HAVE to fit in to the schedule.  Evan amiably suggested visiting two restaurants he had heard of:  In and Out Burger, and Chipotle.


We decided that Muir  was the choice for today, mostly because of Willa’s request to see the ‘big big trees’.  It is easy to forget that she is just two and a half years old when she heads out at a swift trot, but she doesn’t have the endurance that she will as she matures.  She managed to scurry ahead of us for a couple hundred yards, only to double back and request a ride on her Daddy’s shoulders.  Two minutes later she says DOWN, and she’s off again.  This process repeated itself on a regular basis, for a couple of hours.

Soon lunch hour arrived, so we packed up a tired little girl and headed out.  Since we had packed a bag of edibles, we were all soon munching on apples, oranges and bananas.  This suited everyone’s appetite nicely for now, so we headed back home to give Willa a chance to snooze before taking her to our nearby playground here in Santa Clara.

walker piggyback Claire and Willa


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